If you’ve attended church for a while or spent time with others who do, you have likely heard someone complain about not being spiritually fed by their church or pastor.
Maybe that person is you.
I am not suggesting that there is never a time to leave a church. There is.
If a church is toxic or not teaching the Bible, it may be time to consider looking for a different church.
However, it is much more common for people to leave a church without any real reason - often claiming they are not being spiritually fed.
Typically, this is not a fault of the church they attend but rather an issue of self.
What’s Often Going On
Telling someone you “aren’t being spiritually fed” at church wreaks of selfishness. It places emphasis on yourself.
Unfortunately, many view the church as a commodity or business there to meet their personal needs.
This places your desires and needs in the foreground and your potential ministry to others in the background.
As Tyler Edwards for Relevant writes, “Most of the time, if we are being honest, the people who leave churches for this reason aren’t leaving because there isn’t spiritual food on the table but because their agendas, desires and expectations aren’t being met by the leadership. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are consumed by their own selfishness […].”
A Sign of Immaturity
Of course, we want to grow as believers by attending church! The church was created to make disciples who make disciples.
But, when you place your spiritual growth into the hands of someone else, it is a sign of spiritual immaturity.
First, when you rely on others to feed you spiritually, you run the risk of being led astray by others.
Instead, if you make efforts to grow spiritually in addition to what you are learning at church, you will be much more grounded and mature in your beliefs about God and His Word.
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
– Ephesians 4:14-15
Next, by focusing on minor faults in a church, such as the type of worship or the children’s programming, you show a sign of immaturity because a mature Christian, secure in his or her faith, recognizes there are always minor issues.
Such issues are opportunities to grow in one’s faith as Scripture is followed to resolve and work through conflict and issues.
Working through these issues will not hinder one’s spiritual growth unless they allow it to.
It’s Your Responsibility
In I’m Not Being Fed (and Other Stupid Things Christians Say), Brian Jones writes, “It’s an entirely different thing for a Christian to live in the most Christianized culture on the planet, replete with an endless supply of Christian churches, books, podcasts, websites, conferences, 501(c)(3) non-profits, blogs, tweets, Bibles in 67 gagillion translations, etc., and say, ‘I’m not being fed.’ That’s like a morbidly obese person setting down their eleventh plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet and screaming at the waitress, ‘Bring me more food NOW!’”
In other words, today’s church attenders have access to an endless supply of resources all designed to feed them spiritually and help them grow in their walk with Christ.
Placing the blame on the church is pointless because it is your responsibility to feed your soul.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
– James 1:22-25
You Need to Be Fed More Than Once a Week (Sunday Morning)
Moreover, if you are only counting on being fed at church on Sunday, you will struggle.
As Tyler Edwards explains, “Simply showing up for church for a few hours on Sunday mornings will not keep you spiritually fed if you’re not engaging with God individually and in community throughout the week. You wouldn’t eat one big meal on Sunday morning and expect to stay full for the rest of the week.”
Stop Asking the Church to Serve You and Serve the Church
Finally, instead of asking what your church can do for you, do something for your church.
Rather than viewing the church as a business to simply give you what you want, remember what Jesus told his disciples.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:43-45
There are plenty of opportunities to serve the church.
The more you serve, the more likely you will feel like you are spiritually fed because you are putting your faith into action.
If you notice an area where your church is lacking or struggling, it may be time for you to volunteer to step in and fill that gap.
After all, it was probably God who brought the lack to your attention for a reason.
In conclusion, before you write off a church and say you aren’t spiritually fed, take a look at what you are doing on your own to grow closer to God and what you could be doing in your church to serve others.